The House of Representatives has said that there are moves in the pipelines for the declaration of emergency in the country’s health sector with a view to repositioning it to meet the health needs of Nigerians.
It noted the yearly meagre budgetary allocation to the health sector, saying it was grossly inadequate to run the hospitals effectively and efficiently.
The Chairman, House Committee on Health, Amos Magaji, who stated this, however, said that many challenges facing the country’s health sector would soon be a thing of the past.
He spoke at the Federal Teaching Hospital Ido Ekiti (FETHI), Ekiti State when members of the committee, who were on South West Oversight Function visited the tertiary health institution.
Magaji added that the allocation was not enough to serve the hospitals and patients in the country in view of Nigeria’ s increasing population.
Magaji, who explained that addressing the problems in the nation’s health sector required a multi-pronged approach, assured that the sector would soon bounce back when the needful was done.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of FETHI, Prof. Adekunle Ajayi, who took the committee members round the facility, listed the challenges of the health institution to include huge power cost, inadequate water supply, poor access roads, ecological challenges, uncertain manpower planning and need to upgrade medical facility.
The new Histopathology Building; New Accident and Emergency Ward, Assisted Reproductive Technology, 150-bedded building, Molecular Laboratory and Physiotherapy Building were some of the facilities inspected by the House Committee members
Magaji praised FETHI management for utilising the available space and the huge expansion, saying, “We are impressed with what they have done with the resources that Federal Government has given them”.
He said, “The National Assembly, going forward, will be pushing for a state of emergency to be declared on Health because where we are now as a nation, it is not possible that health will be funded by the budget.
“We have gone round many health institutions and the problems are basically the same, lack of equipment, the manpower is a problem, equipment is a problem, the infrastructure in health institutions is also massively inadequate and of course very critical, the issue of power is killing the health institutions.”
As part of efforts to resolve issues in the sector, Magaji said that the committee would invite the national leadership of all health unions to a meeting and as well all relevant MDAs over the issue of non-payment of some of the arrears, bonus and salaries of some health workers.
He said “This is not the time for health workers to work without receiving their payment. Then the issue of one on one replacement, we are looking at it. Immediately we get back, we are calling on all the relevant agencies to discuss on how to remove all the bottlenecks in employment or replacement in the healthcare sector.”
“We are also looking at how to expand the quotas in medical admission in universities. One of the solutions is enrollment of students in medical colleges, making the study of medicine attractive in Nigeria. If we have many young people studying medicine, even if there is japa, we will still have enough people to practise medicine in Nigeria”.